Some Pokémon GO users who had been using add-on map apps to help them find Pokémon may have found their accounts banned, without really knowing why. Niantic has recently shared an update on this issue, saying that such apps can have an effect similar to that of DDoS attacks on their servers, leading to accounts being banned.
However, in the update, Niantic is reversing many of these bans on players’ accounts, thanks to new changes made to their infrastructure. Still, the company did state that, from this moment on, the usage of add-on maps which scrape data from the servers will still be in violation to the Terms of Service, and can possibly lead to another ban.
Here’s the statement from Niantic in full:
“We continue to work to ensure the integrity of the game and the health of our servers by blocking unauthorized access and at times by banning offending accounts. This includes blocking bots, data scraping operations, and banning end user accounts associated with those activities. Some players may not have realized that some add-on map apps do more than just show you nearby Pokémon. Each end-user app can be used as a collection tool by the app creator, invisibly collecting and forwarding data to the app creator with or without the knowledge of the end user. These apps can have an effect similar to DDoS attacks on our servers. Because of this we have had to ban some accounts associated with using these add-on map tools, leading to confusion by some users about why they were banned. This is a small subset of the accounts banned.
As a result of some changes made to our infrastructure, we are now able to unban this set of accounts. Add-on maps which scrape data from our servers still violate our Terms of Service and use of them may still result in an account ban going forward. Accounts whose sole purpose was to scrape data are not being unbanned. Accounts which used apps or websites to remotely capture Pokémon, battle or deploy on Gyms, or harvest resources from PokéStops are also not being unbanned. Our main priority is to provide a fair, fun, and legitimate experience for all players, so, aggressive banning will continue to occur for players who engage in these kinds of activities.”
Pokémon GO is available for iOS and Android devices.